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Old 01-06-2010, 07:17 AM
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Default "HEY. Turn the camera off NOW!"

Is this a legal/reasonable order at a fatal accident scene?
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Old 01-06-2010, 08:16 AM
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From a law enforcement officer? (Sorry).
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Old 01-06-2010, 10:11 AM
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It all depends on where you're standing.

The correct answer 99 percent of the time is "no" it's not a legal order...but it all comes down to "is it worth it to fight for the right, at that moment, with that specific situation?"

They can move you back to another location if they've declared a crime scene and your state does not allow media extra privilages above the average citizen. But technically, they can not force you to shut off the camera. In that case, you just keep rolling as you move back to get what you can.
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Old 01-06-2010, 10:11 AM
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If you're on public property and not interfering with the Emergency Services doing their job, I don't believe it is a legal order. It could be reasonable for them to ask, but that decision is up to you and your news director.

I encountered a similar situation at a non fatal accident scene, guy was hit by a car near our station and I arrived just as the fire truck was pulling up. This guy was obviously in a lot of pain and was being treated by the paramedics, and I was doing my job and getting b-roll of the scene. The top fire official on scene came over and told me to stop recording, and I did because I'm still pretty green, and didn't know any better. I waited for a few minutes for them to finish patching the victim up, and then recorded them loading him into the ambulance and heading for the hospital.

I came back to the station with my tape and asked my ND what I should have done in that situation. She explained that if I'm on public property and not interfering, I have the right to record what I can see. This may be different at your shop, and the fact that it's a fatal accident may also factor in to the decision. Our news directors and editors know better than to put an identifiable picture of a deceased person on the air, and so taking pictures of the accident scene shouldn't be a problem for you.

Again, you'll have to discuss it with your ND for the specific policy for your station, but as far as I'm aware, public property is fair game.
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Old 01-06-2010, 11:29 AM
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No and I would keep rolling (your tally lights are deactivated right). At the very least as I moved back so that there was a record of what happened. This sounds like somebody needs to sit down with the local PIO and have a chat.
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Old 01-06-2010, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Thing on The Sticks View Post
No and I would keep rolling (your tally lights are deactivated right). At the very least as I moved back so that there was a record of what happened. This sounds like somebody needs to sit down with the local PIO and have a chat.
If your tally's blank and your eye is off the viewfinder---you're not rolling, right?
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Old 01-06-2010, 04:02 PM
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I shoot on a side walk or a shoulder everytime. I always ask if I can get a little closer. No matter what, I ask if I think that I might get in their way. But you are legally allowed to shoot anything that pedestrians can see.

One thing that I encounter when I'm shooting an accident scene near a busy road or a highway is that Police Officers/Highway Patrol always tell me to put put my orange reflector vest. They are looking out for me and helps keep them out of trouble in case I get hit by a car (worst case scenerio). Them knowing that you are staying out of their way, and that you are following the same procedure that they are follwoing then they'll understand that you respect them. And you are 1000 times safer with it on.
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Old 01-06-2010, 09:01 PM
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The view from the other side of the fence (so far).

http://forums.officer.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=137690
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Old 01-06-2010, 09:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jumpkutz View Post
The view from the other side of the fence (so far).

http://forums.officer.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=137690
Thanks for posting the reciprocal link on both forums. An interesting perspective that I'd never have seen without your post.

Cheers,
George
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Old 01-06-2010, 09:41 PM
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Your welcome, sir.

Always good to get as many perspectives as possibly, don't you think?
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Old 01-07-2010, 12:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jumpkutz View Post
Your welcome, sir.

Always good to get as many perspectives as possibly, don't you think?
I think we need more of it. Although it does worry be the posts that hint at officers thinking they have the right to take away my camera at their will.

If it isn't a legally binding command to "turn that camera off," I'm guessing that it IS illegal for my camera to be taken away from me w/o my consent b/c an officer feels like calling it evidence.

I am glade to see the posts about give & take. In my experience, that is the best relationship journalists can have w/ emergency responders.
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Old 01-07-2010, 01:25 AM
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It's not about give and take, it's about mutual respect.

Some of the cops in my area know that we're only there for enough shots to tell the story. Some will try to give us enough access to do our jobs so that we're out of their hair that much quicker... that makes both parties happy. Others, not so much.

Approaching a scene, I'll normally shoot enough to cover my ass, then go back for nice tripod-steady shots. And depending on the department, some officers are penalized if they're seen without their hat on. So I'll ask them nicely to put their hats on or just be out of "that" area that I'm shooting for a minute or so. 90% of the time they're quite happy you asked. The other 10% freak out and kick me unnecessarily far from the scene (really officer, this whole block I'm standing on suddenly became a crime scene because you decided it to be? ok, you're the law and I can't argue with that... and thus shooting earlier to cover my ass,) and guess what - they'll be on TV tonight strolling around without their hats on. Same thing if I have a cruiser in my shot and I see that there's a sandwich or coffee, just ask politely that, "I need to use the cruiser in my shot, could you move the sandwich..."

We're not there to find something they're doing wrong*... but if they unnecessarily rough up someone, well then hell ya I'm rolling on it - just like they'd pull me over if they catch me running a red.

* yes I know there's that type of officer that'll tail you for miles because they know that eventually you'll do something they can ticket you for.. going over the speed limit, stopping past the stop line, etc. etc. But there's bad apples in every organization, including us. Which is why you need to work extra hard to earn back the respect that that stringer just lost for the collective whole.

Last edited by canuckcam; 01-07-2010 at 01:41 AM.
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Old 01-07-2010, 09:37 AM
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It has always annoyed me how far they keep us back. if they just tell us where the body is and not to shoot it, then fine. Do that and let us shoot. As far saw on that officer forum, one said something like, "depends on what your shooting and if your zooming in." And how are you going to know what we are zooming into? There is not a exterior monitor for others to view the stuff we shoot.

All in all i work with law enforcement to a certain extent, even with family members if they ask not to show them. Instead of close ups i get wide shots. I will always get video, just depends on how close up they are. if all i have is wide shots then thats all I will have.
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Old 01-08-2010, 12:46 AM
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Their was only one time that I can recall that I was asked to turn off my camera. It was by the state and I had told them I got what I needed and was on my way out. I did run across a couple of officers that decided I didn't need to shoot the scene told them have a nice day and left.
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Old 01-08-2010, 08:37 AM
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It's no more illegal for em to tell you to turn it off than it is for you to do your job in a public place.
Can they suggest? Sure. Can they take your tape as evidence? Absolutely. This is why tallys are off and extra tapes are handy.
Wave ok. Step back. Zoom in.
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Old 01-08-2010, 08:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grinner View Post
Can they take your tape as evidence? Absolutely.
This is incorrect. They cannot take your tape without a court order (unless you were shooting on a military reservation or in a location where the Homeland Security Act prohibits it). They could, however, detain you for a specified time while the court order is being sought. But unless you have used your camera as a weapon in a crime, they can't touch it without violating your civil rights.

That's not to say there aren't cops who think they can. I'm sometimes amazed at how many cops don't know much about the laws they're enforcing.

I'm also sometimes amazed at how some "journalists" are hell-bent on picking a fight, not getting the facts straight, and generally not treating people the way they would want to be treated, themselves.

Last edited by MtnShooter; 01-08-2010 at 08:49 PM.
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Old 01-09-2010, 03:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grinner View Post
Can they take your tape as evidence? Absolutely.
Absolutely not. The only thing that's right about your sentence is why inexperienced input from an amateur is dangerous to take into consideration.

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That's not to say there aren't cops who think they can. ... I'm also sometimes amazed at how some "journalists" [don't treat] people the way they would want to be treated, themselves.
As cheesy as it sounds, you get more bees with honey.

I was covering a ridiculously long standoff in which the FBI was eventually called in after the first couple days. After some developments, two FBI agents approached me and ordered me to hand over the tape I was shooting on.

I refused; I knew my rights. There was nothing wrong with telling these agents no. Rather than put up with more fuss:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lensmith
but it all comes down to "is it worth it to fight for the right, at that moment, with that specific situation?"
I told the agents that I'd be more than happy to show him the video. Apparently, they decided that it was a much easier option than kicking up dust. They followed me to my truck, I popped the tape into a deck, and showed them the event they wanted to see. I worked with them; if they wanted to see it again, I obliged. Stop the tape at a certain point? Fine.

Eventually, they were satisfied and said goodbye.

Could I have stood my ground, acted stubborn, and picked a fight? Sure. But where would that have gotten any of us? Like it or not, we were all stuck at the same stand-off. Why make it more difficult for everyone involved?

I decided to work with them and show them what I'd recorded. If my willingness to help them out without being a dick about it helped them out, maybe I could ask them for a favor later on. Maybe one of them would drop me a tip later on in the stand-off or give me some sort of access nobody else would have. I wasn't going to hold my breath: it was the friggin' FBI.

Regardless, I like to operate under the idea that "you never know."
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Old 01-09-2010, 07:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicago Dog View Post
Absolutely not. The only thing that's right about your sentence is why inexperienced input from an amateur is dangerous to take into consideration.



As cheesy as it sounds, you get more bees with honey.

I was covering a ridiculously long standoff in which the FBI was eventually called in after the first couple days. After some developments, two FBI agents approached me and ordered me to hand over the tape I was shooting on.

I refused; I knew my rights. There was nothing wrong with telling these agents no. Rather than put up with more fuss:



I told the agents that I'd be more than happy to show him the video. Apparently, they decided that it was a much easier option than kicking up dust. They followed me to my truck, I popped the tape into a deck, and showed them the event they wanted to see. I worked with them; if they wanted to see it again, I obliged. Stop the tape at a certain point? Fine.

Eventually, they were satisfied and said goodbye.

Could I have stood my ground, acted stubborn, and picked a fight? Sure. But where would that have gotten any of us? Like it or not, we were all stuck at the same stand-off. Why make it more difficult for everyone involved?

I decided to work with them and show them what I'd recorded. If my willingness to help them out without being a dick about it helped them out, maybe I could ask them for a favor later on. Maybe one of them would drop me a tip later on in the stand-off or give me some sort of access nobody else would have. I wasn't going to hold my breath: it was the friggin' FBI.

Regardless, I like to operate under the idea that "you never know."
This is good. I wish I could think on my feet as well as you do, Sir C-Dog. Hopefully I and the others who read this can file it away somewhere in the brain where it can be accessed in future similar circumstances.
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Old 01-12-2010, 07:37 PM
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Just a little light reading for the rest of the class.

https://webmail.raycommedia.com/owa/...xxtxP&attcnt=1
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Old 01-15-2010, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jumpkutz View Post
Just a little light reading for the rest of the class.

https://webmail.raycommedia.com/owa/...xxtxP&attcnt=1
you can't link to your email, unless you want to give us all your username and password

And no, if a cop orders you to stop rolling, it's not legal under any circumstances provided you are on public land and not shooting something Homeland Security has designated as unshootable. It's called prior restraint, and is a violation of your first amendment rights.
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